Due Process

Indefinite Detention and the NDAA

Should our government be able to indefinitely detain and deny a trial to American citizens suspected of a crime? Given the Constitutional guarantee of due process, that question could seem a bit absurd. Yet late last year the House and Senate gave us new provisions in the NDAA, one of which is the allowance of indefinite detention of American citizens.

This isn’t some heavy handed attack on freedom levied by the Democrats. It’s not even some measure that passed narrowly in the House before Harry Reid forced it on us in the Senate. No, this attack on freedom carries much bipartisan support. Both Republicans and Democrats support this insanity.

You can see the House’s roll call on the 2012 NDAA here and the Senate’s roll call on it here.

Last month I wrote a piece about Justin Amash, the Congressman from Michigan who is fighting to fix the indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA. Amash has been outspoken on this issue, and his time to fight is coming soon.

The answer to Amash’s concerns over the 2012 NDAA was to reinforce habeas corpus “for any person who is detained in the United States.” Though that sounds pretty good, Amash addresses this answer in a letter to his Republican colleagues:

Companies backing SOPA have created piracy

In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Jason Pye, originally posted by  on December 27, 2011.

We’ve been posting a lot about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) lately. You’re going to continue to hear about it online over the next few weeks. SOPA is touted by supporters as legislation that would prevent copyright infringement and secure intellectual property rights, but it would actually promote internet censorship and ignore due process. In fact, SOPA isn’t likely to stop piracy.

If you want to learn more about the law and its implications, you should watch this video that explains how many of the companies supporting SOPA are in fact guilty of distributing software that promotes piracy:

8 Political Reasons to Stop SOPA and PIPA

In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Ron Davis, originally posted on January 11, 2012.

My post from earlier today, 8 Technological Reasons to Stop SOPA and PIPA, discussed the legitimate technological problems with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). These bills are supposed to be an attempt at stopping online piracy, but as I mentioned yesterday, they will not work but will instead cause harm to the speed, reliability, security, and safety of the Internet.

There are also political reasons this legislation should not be supported. Here are eight of them:

SOPA and PIPA will not stop piracy. It’s even a stretch to argue that they would impact it at all. I explained how earlier, but the technical details aren’t important to today’s point. If proposed legislation will obviously not accomplish its stated purpose, it should never pass. This one point alone should be enough for your congressman and senators to oppose it. In case it’s not enough, keep reading; I have seven more reasons.

SOPA and PIPA mandate censorship compliance. When a domain name is seized by the government, ISPs are forced to comply with the censorship. There is no option of appeal for the ISPs; they must comply.

SOPA supporters face a mountain of opposition

In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Jason Pye, originally posted on January 3, 2012.

With President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law last week, it should serve as a reminder that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is the next battle that civil liberties and privacy advocates should turn our attention to. Some are already taking the fight over this issue straight to SOPA supporters. For example, Reddit users launched a campaign against GoDaddy, which caused the Internet hosting firm to switch its position to opposition of SOPA. Similarly, they also went after Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a popular figure in the conservative movement, causing problems for his staff and, potentially, his re-election campaign.

Why is there such a backlash against this legislation? Because it promotes Internet censorship and elimates due process for website owners and operators. Jerry Brito explained the problems with SOPA at Time back in November:

Drop the SOPA: Protect the Internet from censorship

In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Tom Knighton, originally posted on December 20, 2011.

I’m kind of a rare breed of libertarian. I actually believe in the concept of intellectual property. As such, some might be under the belief that folks like me would be in favor of something like the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

Of course, they would be horribly, horribly wrong.

Regardless of ones feelings on IP, the reality is that SOPA is nothing less than a NDAA or PATRIOT Act for the internet.

You see, the internet is the last bastion of freedom anywhere in the world. While it’s entirely possible to render something illegal in one country, it’s virtually impossible to stamp it out. Laws and regulations become meaningless as physical borders mean nothing on a cyberscape free from such lines.

The kick in the butt with this bill, as with many similar bills, is that it really won’t do a whole heck of a lot to combat piracy. Of course, there are some that will argue that what SOPA seeks to do is crush that freedom. That ideas breed in such freedom, and such ideas can not be allowed to incubate.

I don’t know if I would go that far, but what is clear is that SOPA is nothing more than a powergrab. Those that are supposed to support and defend the Constitution have instead decided to just ignore the document completely.

SOPA seeks to require your ISP to spy on you. It seeks to hurt companies like Mozilla that haven’t done what the powerful want it to do. It seeks to rewrite the current laws regarding the internet and remake it into a place where innovation no longer happens.

Sen. Cornyn backs off #PIPA

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is not completely abandoning the Protect IP Act, but in a statement on his Facebook page, he has said:

SOPA: better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong. Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about unintended damage to the internet and innovation in the tech sector require a more thoughtful balance, which will take more time.

I agree with him that stealing content is theft—please, let us remember that some people live on their content—but SOPA and PIPA are a cure that’s worse than the disease.

Unfortunately, Cornyn is not really off of PIPA. What he is saying is that he wants to go back, “fix” it, then later reintroduce a “better” version.

There is not better version of SOPA or PIPA. There just isn’t.

SOPA must be shot down by Congress

In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Jason Pye, originally posted by  on December 20, 2011.

On the heels of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which effectively shredded the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and Habeas Corpus, Congress will likely take up the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) at some point early next year.

For those of you that haven’t followed SOPA, Tina Korbe at Hot Air offers a very good introduction to the legislation:

Introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and co-sponsored by representatives from both parties (the bill has a total of 31 co-sponsors!), the Stop Online Piracy Act purports to stop “foreign online criminals from stealing and selling America’s intellectual property and keeping the profits for themselves.”

According to Rep. Smith’s website, “IP theft costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. The Stop Online Piracy Act specifically targets foreign websites primarily dedicated to illegal activity or foreign websites that market themselves as such. The bill ensures that profits from America’s innovations go to American innovators.”

That sounds relatively harmless, but there has been a lot of concern among tech-advocates that SOPA would would lead to censorship and deter innovation on the Internet.

Korbe continues:

8 Technological Reasons to Stop SOPA and PIPA

In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Ron Davis, originally posted on January 11, 2012.

There’s legislation in the House and Senate right now that is very troubling to me. In the House, it’s called the Stop Online Piracy Act (abbreviated SOPA); in the Senate, it’s called PROTECT IP (or PIPA). The goal of the legislation is to stop online piracy, which is definitely a problem. The Senate will be voting on it later this month, and for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been in awe at the absurdity of this legislation while trying to find a proper way to respond to it.

I’m a freedom loving, Constitution defending, small government guy who writes my own personal opinion about politics (which, for the record, may or may not always be the view of my employer). My day job (the one that actually pays bills) is as a systems administrator for a very large company. I’ve spent the vast majority of the last 13 years since my college graduation dealing with the technology of the Internet, and I know it quite well.

My career in IT and my fondness for liberty make me one of a relatively small number of political bloggers qualified to address this issue from both the technological and political points of view. Today I am discussing the technological issues around this legislation; tomorrow I’ll post the political problems with it.

This weekend I spent a lot of time poring over this legislation, blog posts, and white papers about it. I made my own notes and then merged my concerns of this legislation with those I found elsewhere on the Internet. This post is a fairly exhaustive list of the technological problems with SOPA and PIPA.

8 Political Reasons to Stop SOPA & PIPA

My post from earlier today, 8 Technological Reasons to Stop SOPA & PIPA, discussed the legitimate technological problems with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). These bills are supposed to be an attempt at stopping online piracy, but as I mentioned yesterday, they will not work but will instead cause harm to the speed, reliability, security, and safety of the Internet.

There are also political reasons this legislation should not be supported. Here are eight of them:

SOPA and PIPA will not stop piracy. It’s even a stretch to argue that they would impact it at all. I explained how earlier, but the technical details aren’t important to today’s point. If proposed legislation will obviously not accomplish its stated purpose, it should never pass. This one point alone should be enough for your congressman and senators to oppose it. In case it’s not enough, keep reading; I have seven more reasons.

SOPA and PIPA mandate censorship compliance. When a domain name is seized by the government, ISPs are forced to comply with the censorship. There is no option of appeal for the ISPs; they must comply.

The method of seizing domain names lacks due process for the accused. These bills take a “guilty until innocent” approach to Internet censorship. If the site that has been seized is truly not violating copyrights, the owner can follow a process to get his site restored, but this process is backward from what the Fifth Amendment would require. Voting for legislation which so obviously ignores the Fifth Amendment would be a violation of the oath of office for any legislator.

Obama’s power grab over recess appointments

Over the last year, the National Labor Relations Board has rightly riled Republicans and business owners alike due to its suit against Boeing. The suit, which sought to prevent the airline manufacturer from opening a new plant in South Carolina, had support from union thugs bosses and Democrats — including ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but was recently dropped after an agreement was reached; however, the precedent was set.

The damage continued last month as the NLRB forced through new rules that would, as Labor Union Report explains, “[strip] of due process from the minority of employers who challenge the validity of a union’s petitioned-for voting unit.”

Given these controverisal moves, you’d think President Barack Obama would tread carefully in an election year. But in an unprecendented move yesterday, he appointed three new members to the NRLB, bypassing the Senate confirmation process:


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